Review of pianist Yefim Bronfman at Carnegie Hall to perform Prokofiev’s piano sonatas, a 3 part series

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Carnegie Hall Presents: Yefim Bronfman, Piano

By Diane DiResta

On November 13th, Yefim Bronfman, performed a Prokofiev program at Carnegie Hall. Mr. Bronfman is Internationally recognized and one of the most acclaimed artists. He’s acknowledged for his powerful and commanding techniques and lyrical gifts. He immigrated to Israel from Tashkent, Uzbekistan to study with pianist Arie Vardi. He also studied at The Julliard School, Marlboro, and the Curtis Institute.

The program commenced on a somber note with premature applause as the audience mistook the announcer for the pianist. The announcer began by requesting a moment of silence for the people in Paris. With that, Mr. Bronfman entered and began his first selection of the evening,

Piano Sonata No 1 in F Minor, Op.
The F Minor Sonata opens explosively and quickly subsides into a softer, lyrical theme.

He continued with Piano Sonata No.2 in D Minor, Op 14
Allegro ma non troppo
Scherzo: Allegro marcato

The Sonata in D Minor has sharp contrasts of style,mood, mood, texture, and tonality. The Allegro opens with a turbulence which morphs into a type of waltz. The Scherzo moves between a fast, pounding style, with a graceful middle section with a repeating melodic motif. The Andante has rhythmic patterns that creates a dream-like surreal atmosphere. The Vivace has a more playful theme against the waltz melody from the first movement.
He completed the first part of the program with Piano Sonata No.3 in A Minor, Op.28
The Sonata is concentrated in expression like the First. It opens with a sharp, short shock of E-major chords. Later on, it is followed by a folk-like second theme establishing a contrast between tempestuousness and serenity.

After a brief intermission, Mr. Bronfman performed the final piece, Piano Sonata No. 4 in C Minor, Op 29
Allegro molto sostenuto
andante assai
Allegro con brio, ma non leggiere

The Allegro molto sostenuto begins with a tense quavering figure that recurs throughout the movement. Each of the three movements builds slowly to a thunderous climax.

After each performance Mr. Bronfman was met with enthusiastic applause and bravos. His passion was evidenced by his signature ending of extending his leg and nearly bouncing off his seat.


Mr. Bronfman Joined by Violinist Guy Braunstein for All-Prokofiev Program on March 9
Acclaimed pianist Yefim Bronfman returns to Carnegie Hall this season to perform Prokofiev’s complete piano sonatas. The nine sonatas will be divided over three concerts with numbers 1–4 presented during the first performance on Friday, November 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall. Spanning the composer’s early years, the first four sonatas reflect Prokofiev’s coming of age as he began to cultivate and define his own musical language. For the second concert, on Wednesday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall, violinist Guy Braunstein joins Mr. Bronfman for a performance of Prokofiev’s Violin Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2, two pieces of very contrasting character. Mr. Bronfman completes the program with Piano Sonatas Nos. 5 and 9. Mr. Bronfman returns for his final all-Prokofiev concert of the season on Saturday, May 7 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. He concludes the cycle with sonatas 6–8, often referred to as the “War Sonatas” because of their reflection of the composer’s reaction to World War II.

About the Artists
Internationally recognized as one of today’s most acclaimed and admired pianists, Yefim Bronfman stands among a handful of artists regularly sought by festivals, orchestras, conductors, and recital series. His commanding technique, power, and exceptional lyrical gifts are consistently acknowledged by the press and audiences alike.

Mr. Bronfman has also given numerous solo recitals in the leading halls of North America, Europe, and the Far East, including acclaimed debuts at Carnegie Hall in 1989 and Avery Fisher Hall in 1993. In 1991, he gave a series of joint recitals with Isaac Stern in Russia, marking Mr. Bronfman’s first public performances there since his emigration to Israel at age 15. That same year, he was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, one of the highest honors given to American instrumentalists. In 2010, he was honored as the recipient of the Jean Gimbel Lane prize in piano performance from Northwestern University.

Widely praised for his solo, chamber, and orchestral recordings, Mr. Bronfman was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2009 for his Deutsche Grammophon recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s piano concerto with Salonen conducting, and in 1997, he won a Grammy Award, again with Salonen, for his recording of the three Bartók Piano Concerti with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His prolific catalog of recordings includes works for two pianos by Rachmaninoff and Brahms with Emanuel Ax, the complete Prokofiev concerti with the Israel Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta, a Schubert/Mozart disc with the Zukerman Chamber Players, and the soundtrack to Disney’s Fantasia 2000. His most recent CD releases are the 2014 Grammy Award-nominated recording of Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2, commissioned for him and performed by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert on the Da Capo label; Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 with Mariss Jansons and the Bayerischer Rundfunk; a recital disc, Perspectives, complementing Mr. Bronfman’s designation as a Carnegie Hall Perspectives artist for the 2007-2008 season; and recordings of all the Beethoven piano concerti as well as the Triple Concerto with violinist Gil Shaham, cellist Truls Mørk, and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich under David Zinman for the Arte Nova/BMG label.

Born in Tashkent in the Soviet Union, Yefim Bronfman immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973, where he studied with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. In the United States, he studied at The Juilliard School, Marlboro School of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music, under Rudolf Firkušný, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin. He is a 2015 recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Manhattan School of Music. Yefim Bronfman became an American citizen in July 1989.

Violinist Guy Braunstein was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, and studied the violin under the guidance of Chaim Taub and later in New York with Glenn Dicterow and Pinchas Zukerman.

He started performing as an international soloist and a chamber musician at a young age and has since played with the Israel Philharmonic, Tonhalle Zürich, Bamberg Symphony, Copenhagen Radio and Frankfurt Radio Orchestras, as well as the Filarmonica della Scala, Berliner Philharmoniker, and many others.

His success brought him quickly to the world’s most important venues and he has collaborated with musicians such as Isaac Stern, András Schiff, Zubin Mehta, Maurizio Pollini, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Yefim Bronfman, Daniel Barenboim, Lioba Braun, Sir Simon Rattle, Mitsuko Uchida, Andrey Boreyko, Lang Lang, Jonathan Nott, Emanuel Ax, Gary Bertini, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Semyon Bychkov, and Angelika Kirschlager.

Between 2003 and 2007, Mr. Braunstein held the position of Professor of Music in the University of the Arts (Universität der Künste) in Berlin and since 2006 has been the Music Director of the Rolandseck festival in Germany where he has welcomed international stars such as Emmanuel Pahud, Hélène Grimaud, Amihai Grosz, and François Leleux.

Mr. Braunstein was the youngest person to be appointed concertmaster of the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2000, a position which heralded his debut as an orchestral member. He retired from this position at the end of the 2012–2013 season.

Mr. Braunstein plays a rare violin made by Francesco Ruggieri in 1679.

Program Information
Friday, November 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Zankel Hall
, Piano


Piano Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 1
Piano Sonata No. 2 in D Minor, Op. 14
Piano Sonata No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 28
Piano Sonata No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 29

Tickets: $80–$95

Wednesday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Zankel Hall
, Piano
Guy Braunstein, Violin


Piano Sonata No. 5 in C Major, Op. 38
Violin Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 80
Piano Sonata No. 9 in C Major, Op. 103
Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Major, Op. 94bis

Tickets: $80–$95

Saturday, May 7 at 8:00 p.m.
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
, Piano


Piano Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Op. 82
Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-flat Major, Op. 83
Piano Sonata No. 8 in B-flat Major, Op. 84

Tickets: $36–$107

Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.

Ticket Information
Tickets are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, Carnegie Hall Corporation presentations taking place in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, a limited number of seats, priced at $10, will be available day-of-concert beginning at 11:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:00 noon on Sunday until one hour before the performance or until supply lasts. The exceptions are Carnegie Hall Family Concerts and gala events. These $10 tickets are available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis at the Carnegie Hall Box Office only. There is a two-ticket limit per customer.For more information on this and other discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit Artists, programs, and prices are subject to change.



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